Helping our children to identify and label their feelings means learning to regulate our own feelings as parents and carers first. Sometimes we rush in to help our children because of an inability to handle our own feelings of discomfort seeing them upset, this is normal and once we are aware, we can begin to work on this.
Teach your child that having big feelings is OK by validating them. Instead of saying things like ‘calm down,’ ‘you will be fine’ or distracting them, try tuning in by saying ‘I can see you’re feeling really upset right now and that’s OK. Do you want to come and talk to me about it?
Validate them regardless of whether you think the emotional response is out of proportion to the situation. Your acceptance of your child’s feelings helps them accept their own emotions, which is what allows them to resolve the feelings and move on instead of becoming stuck.
Your acceptance and compassion will also teach your child that his emotional life is not dangerous, it is not embarrassing, awkward or shameful or something to be kept hidden and secret.
He learns that he is not alone in his feelings. He learns that even the raw, pointy, tricky parts of h